Although it seems a little early to be thinking about your garden for next year, there are many things you can do now to have a successful and lush landscape after the winter months pass. One of the simplest is to plant bulbs. Even if they seem like a mystery to you, these small nuggets of joy can bring great surprise and satisfaction once the snow melts and the grounds thaw.
Even if digging in the soil seems scary, the good news is the act of bulb planting is nearly fool proof. Spring bulbs should be planted in the fall when the temperatures fall around the 40-50 degree mark. Your goal is to get them in the soil a solid six weeks before you expect frost. When planting, bulbs prefer a loose and well draining soil. The only thing you have to remember is to plant them with the pointy part up. But even if you forget, the bulb more often than not will naturally rotate itself in the soil over time. But give them a running start, and place them point up and flat side-down, as these are the points where the leaves and roots will grow from, respectively.
Many bulbs like to be exposed to sun, but remember, in the Spring, sun is more abundant as most deciduous trees will have not yet filled out with leaves. The best part about planting bulbs is the lack of effort that has to go into them. Just dig a hole and drop them in. Your time can be spent planning out color blocks around the garden and really digging into your design without all those other traditional planting details looming over your head. And plant bulb groupings accordingly, as they all bloom at different times. A little label reading can result in a bulb-based garden that will provide a show from the last weeks of snow cover all the way into the autumn.